November 12, 2008

My Fall Obsessions: Katie Couric and Rachel Maddow

This is the fall that I started watching the news again with excitement because of the reemergence of Katie Couric and the swift ascendancy of Rachel Maddow. I never watch the news at 6:30. Who does? But when I am around, I turn on Katie. I even Tivoed all the debates on CBS cause I wanted to give her my eyeballs. Her kick ass interview with Sarah Palin helped seal the deal against Palin's competence.

And Maddow, what more can I say except now I'm more tired cause I stay up late watching her. She gets watched before John Stewart. She's just so good. And let me say that I noticed last week with all the talk about Larry Summer becoming Treasury chief she reminded us each night when his name came up that he didn't think girls were good at math. She just reminds us that this is a remark that cannot be excused. She just loves politics, she has fun talking about this stuff and it makes it fun for us too.

Welcome to the new world order. Maybe they should let Maddow take over for Tim Russert on Meet the Press. How cool would that be?

Here are some choice quotes from recent pieces.

But against the odds—she wasn’t allowed the opportunity, for instance, to anchor a single presidential or vice presidential debate for CBS—Ms. Couric has used the 2008 presidential elections to make herself a commodity again. Not the too expensive piece of furniture the Tiffany network had bought and regretted, but the game-changing political journalist she aspired to be when she first took the Evening News. Hers was the most memorable interview of the 2008 election. Über political blogger Mark Halperin named her one of the five most important people in politics not running for president.

Her rising star has not only made life comfortable enough at CBS for her to use an interview with a reporter to request an hour-long program. According to The New York Times, others are looking to steal her: NBC News executives are currently considering her for the most coveted job in political journalism, as the next moderator of Meet the Press. (NY Observer)

And from the ever reliable Rebecca Traister at Salon:
In the final weeks of October, days before what many consider the most crucial election of our lifetimes, the probing interviews, fine-boned analysis and buzzy commentary showing up on television screens and Internet browsers all over the country are often delivered not in the deep rumble of a wizened Uncle Walt but in a higher register belonging to one of several female newscasters to have kicked ass, taken names and otherwise owned the coverage of the 2008 election.

Call it historical accident or mere coincidence, but this election, built as it has been around two history-making female candidates, traditional "women's issues" like the economy and healthcare and the acknowledgment of the power of female voters, also happens to have been translated, interpreted and picked apart by women newscasters. And that's something new.
A Star is Reborn (NY Observer)
The New American Classic (The Advocate)
Ladies of the Nightly News (Salon)